By Joel Klettke
Dust off those imagination caps left over from elementary school, because this article is interactive. For just a moment, imagine yourself back in the ’80s. Instantly, at the very mention of the decade, all sorts of fun, quirky things will fly to mind: leg warmers, Hulk Hogan, big hair, synthesizers, Dukes of Hazard and hoop earrings. Even if you didn’t grow up in the ’80s, you can recall the pop icons, music, and fashion that defined it. How about the ’60s? The Hippie movement, GI Joe, Leave it to Beaver, The Beatles, thick-rimmed glasses and hair slicked to the side. Imagine almost any recent decade and you can conjure all sorts of nostalgic mementos that defined the time. So the question is, what will have defined us when we reflect in 2010?
We live in an era of the mundane, the mediocre. Fashion changes from week to week and gets steadily worse. One week color-coordinated joggers and gaudy accessories are in, next week you’ve got boys tossing on neon pink eyeliner and safety-pinning their pants for extra squeeze. As a perverted mixed blessing, the individualism and “uniqueness” has come to the head of the fashion scene–using the term uniqueness loosely. There’s no defining movement that’s exciting and fun to be a part of, just a bunch of sub-groups, misfits and elitists. The music of today has no staying power, no “classic” feel that will prove to endure the course of time. Where are our Beatles? Where are our Beach Boys? In the stead of music that will live eternally, we’re settling for countless made-on-television stars, actresses gone musicians, pedophiles-gone-Rïœ¦B, and the worst of all, the bottom-rung crap they’re passing off as music could easily be called “regurgitated post-retarded, pre-talented grunge,” lead by the throngs of Theory-of-a-Nickle-Creed-by-Default cookie-cutter rebels. Instead of our Hippie movements and social outcries we have a bunch of whining Telus employees sticking it to the man, instead of ALF and I Love Lucy we’re watching Pimp My Ride and the 3,000,000th version of Survivor (now with extra boring twists and even more dysfunctional morons! Hooray!). With revolutionary inventions like the online “blog,” any idiot with two hands (or a lot of determination) can spew their unimportant personal lives all over the internet in a puddle of didactic sewage. We’ve all become MSN-psychologists, hiding behind screens to deal with that big breakup that only years ago would have required some personal interaction or at the very least, a telephone call. Now, relational freedom can be yours for the price of “LOL @ U R DUMPT! KBYE!”
No, the decade of 2000-2010 will not be reflected on as a time of cultural growth and glorious media. Instead, I imagine we’ll look back on the dull gray haze of these years with a profound sense of loss and regret, asking ourselves what in the hell we were wasting our time on. Let’s face it, the only thing we have in common with the ’70s is the fact that the USA has once again rocket-launched themselves into another war they should never have been involved in. We’re in years of economic prosperity and emotional depression, prescribed bipolar medication and monitor-tans. We’re in years where the ones who preach the loudest are the ones who know the least, celebrities telling us to donate while their Mercedes Benz collection collects dust. We’re living in years of paranoia and propaganda, where every day is 9/11 and every person in the western hemisphere is convinced that at any moment a terrorist is going to show up in their living room and blow them to pieces. Tolerance is our new global anthem, child porn is steadily on its way to becoming art, manslaughter is the new murder, and third graders already know the intimate details of reproduction, special thanks to late-night Showcase.
As the steam roller of time keeps crushing forward, it seems society is losing itself underneath. It is said that history repeats itself–I’m crossing my fingers on that one.